Miss World Malaysia among dozens hit by COVID-19 ahead of now-postponed pageant

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Miss World Malaysia Lavanya Sivaji, along with six other contestants, has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be allowed to physically compete in the international round, the local organizer said.

Lavanya, 25, who is currently being isolated, was confirmed with the infection on Wednesday, three weeks after arriving in the Caribbean island. Those who test positive for COVID-19 would be prohibited from going on stage in the final show, which has been postponed, and would be judged based on past performances and pre-recorded videos, according to organizers.

Other beauty queens who tested positive for COVID-19 include Indonesia’s Pricilia Carla Yules and Miss India’s Manasa Varanasi. Another 17 people involved in the pageant, including staff, have also contracted the virus.

“Representing the Miss World Malaysia Organization, I write to inform that Miss World Malaysia 2021 Dr. Lavanya Sivaji, our esteemed representative for Malaysia this year, has produced a positive molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result for Covid-19 and is currently isolated for recovery,” a statement by Miss World Malaysia’s national director Sean Wong said, adding: “She will definitely overcome this adversity.”

The Miss World competition, which was supposed to happen tonight, has been postponed until no later than April and is set to take place at the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in the island’s capital San Juan. Before returning to Malaysia, Lavanya has to be isolated for ten days and receive clearance from local health officials and advisors before returning to Malaysia.

“The last two days were extremely difficult to get through and it is indeed a bitter pill for me to swallow… The fight is not over yet, thank you Malaysia for always standing by my side. I will do Malaysia proud,” Lavanya reacted on Instagram.

A total of 97 contestants are vying for the crown at this year’s Miss World pageant. Last year’s winner was Toni-Ann Singh from Jamaica.

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Miss World Indonesia Pricilia Carla Yules (at left) also tested positive for COVID-19. Photo: Lavanya Sivaji/Instagram

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